Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What Now Edison? Encouraging Content Creation in SecondLife

When the Edison company invented the motion picture in 1891*, it was immediately clear just how potent and cool the format was and yet it was several more years before anyone produced a motion picture still considered artistically important or good.  By the time people started making good and important movies, the Edison Company was no longer in the business.

The same may be true of SecondLife.  Ten minutes into the platform and even the dullest visitor recognizes how cool and potent the SecondLife format is and their next question is always "what now?"

I fully believe the content on the SecondLife platform twenty years from now will make what we have now look like Edison's "The Sneeze".  Content, not technology or management or marketing made cinema successful and the same is true for SecondLife, yet there is little framework in place to reward the best content makers.

Unlike cinema, SecondLife was blessed with several very talented early content creators.  People like AM Radio, Arcadia Asylum and Tricia Farella created SecondLife content seen by thousands of users each month, yet they are dependent on tips to both pay for their server time and receive any compensation.

I propose a system where Linden Labs provides a discount on tiers based on the number of unique visitors to the sim per month, negligible for most users but leaving open the possibility of making a profit for the most visited places.

This system would encourage making content users want to see, which encourages people both to get on SecondLife, but also to spend more time once they're here.  Linden Labs would more than make up for what they lose in tier payments by increasing the number of users in the system and encouraging them to stay once they're here.  They could even make it so that only unique visits by premium account holders count in the discount, which would encourage content creators to push their visitors to become premium members.

It was easy to reward content creators in the cinema because people bought tickets.  Although technically an option in SecondLife, the Internet culture is against any hint of a pay as you go system, so SecondLife will have to come up with some other way to encourage and reward creativity.

* I'm more than aware of the controversy over who actually invented the motion picture, thank-you-very-much.  As far as I'm concerned, Edison was the first to produce a second camera after the prototype, so he gets the credit.

1 comment:

  1. Good thought Boyd. /me wonders how to keep the Linden fanboyz from FICing the policy.


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